Saturday, December 1, 2012

Loring Park Episode #19: Be Thankful

This episode is going to be written in a choppy form, because I have things to do. Also, a lot has happened, and a lot hasn't happened, but it's all going to start with this:

It was the day of Liam's birthday party, and I was bringing groceries in the house, and I was only going to be inside for a few minutes, but a few minutes turned into two hours, and the moral of this story is that if you have a red Jack Spade wallet, do not leave it on your passenger seat, even if you live in an ostensibly safe neighborhood.

It put things in perspective, though. This happened a week before Thanksgiving, and I was surprised by how I really wasn't that upset about it. Discover air-mailed my credit card, my mother spotted me $20 to get food and paid for the window to be fixed (adding it to the thousands that I owe her, in the year 2013, when I allegedly become a grown-up), my friends were sympathetic and understanding. It made me realize what I should be thankful for.


I got a new bed last week because one of my friends peed in it. I am thankful for that friend because he makes me laugh and he paid for the Rug Doctor the next day. "This was meant to happen, Jakey," he said, "Because it'll get rid of the cat pee smell in your closet anyway." It was a rare Sunday that I had off in retail world, so naturally I took my mother and grandparents to LUSH for brunch.


We didn't really tell Grandpa that it was a gay bar, and I don't know if he got it because the football game was on (albeit next to a music video screen). My grandpa is not homophobic, but he is blue-collar and in his 70's, so I was a bit tepid at first, but my mother explained that as long as you feed him, he is content (and he fully joined the Clean Plate Club). We discussed a friend of mine whose father is a Pentecostal preacher and does not speak to him, and I shared that I was thankful that I got to have both family Thanksgiving and friends Thanksgiving, and it is a rarity for a gay person to have that blessing. Many of the Minneapolis gays go to brunch regularly, but I only get to go twice a year (the last time I was off on Sunday was for my birthday in July), which meant I was drinking like I was in Las Vegas. A gay complimented Grandma Shirley's new handbag that she bought from Lilian's in Blaine in support of Small Business Saturday, and was gracious when she accidentally bumped into him with it. "I'm sorry," she said. "My bag is too big." "Oh, darling," he said. "Nothing can ever be too big." Banter! I met Tall Boy's boyfriend and he couldn't look up from his phone to introduce himself, but not even that would bring me down! Sunday Funday!

My family departed, and I was hoping to eventually get a nap in at some point. It was not to be. Somehow we went to the Eagle, and it's all a blur from there, kids. I allegedly felt up Ryan Robertson, but only because Liam was controlling my hand, and I allegedly shared secrets, because when I drink I am like Elaine on "Seinfeld" (I am also an awful dancer and I violently push people). We went to Lush for a second time, which I do not remember, and then at The Saloon I remember doing self-esteem exercises with a really cute bro-ski type, and then Liam told him how old I was, and then I tackled Liam to the ground and made Jared count the pin.


 Allegedly. I remember nothing.


Oh, the friends I have! There are the usual suspects, to be sure, but I know such a great variety of people. Kara threw a Barbie themed birthday party and I wore my best pink Express shirt. Then I had an allergic reaction to Kinky, which totally bummed me out. Do I need to have Claritin before I drink now? I remember reading in Augusten Burroughs' "Dry" that he would take, like, eight Benadryls before a night of binge drinking. That sounds so awful to me. I would be in a coma. My sinuses would feel great, but I wouldn't be awake to notice it. I last went to Kara's for her Fourth of July shindig, and I love her parties. They are a mix of people who work retail, people who are writers, and usually both (Kara herself is an amazing writer -- and avid reader.She knew about Carole Radziwill before RHONY!). She is also friends with another comedian, in a delightful coincidence.


The hardest part about doing stand-up comedy is actually leaving your apartment to go do stand-up comedy, but I'm doing it more and more lately, because my goal for 2013 is to actually make money doing it (and also prove to myself that I wasn't supposed to be promoted and that I was meant to feel worthless and destitute in the latter half of 2012). Every month I meet more comedians who are so dedicated to what they do, and I just hope to absorb their drive and work ethic. I did a real show at the Comedy Corner this week called Punchline Punchout, a concept in which the comedians have to write five minutes of new matrial based on the topic they get that very morning. Mine was "fire", so I did jokes about Lindsay Lohan's vagina, scary gay stories to be told at gay campfire ("One time I went to The Saloon and I wore black shoes with brown socks!!!"), and the time I set my apartment on fire because I was having webcam sex with a stripper from Miami and I put a towel over a lamp to create better mood lighting. You see, when the stripper took off his shirt he looked like a stripper, and when I took mine off, I looked like an albino 12-year-old girl who is growing slight body hair as a result of her body eating itself due to anorexia.


I have a job in this economy. has been doing an incredible series about the plight of the unemployed, and it can really scare the crap out of you. HOW DARE I EVER COMPLAIN.


I am just as boy-crazy as ever. Jared and Liam were over and I jokingly made a list of all my crushes, and I realized I have at least 20. Then, because I am a mature adult, I began to rank them based on how badly I want to play board games with them, and how likely my odds are of playing board games with them. I quit because it got too depressing. ("#3 is single now! But I am still white!"). And at the risk of being TMI, I am sexually bankrupt. I just like to flirt, people.

Joey, Liam, Markie and a gal pal graciously attended my Comedy Corner show, and after LUSH karaoke (with my parents! Who secretly love LUSH now. It's going to be one of those things where I show up on a crowded Wednesday and they will be sitting at the bar, shocked to see me. Like, "Oh, Jake! It's dollar drinks! Your father and I are going to have to get a cab home!"), we vamoosed to The Saloon!!

I had more to drink than I usually do, and because it was a full moon, all of my crushes were there. As I was yelling in the bathroom about how much Muscle Margaret is a snob (because he is!), Piano Man told me to stop yelling. He has been working out and his arms looked good. Even Jared commented on it. "Jakey, I usually never want to have sex with the same people you do, but CHILD BOO." The Pink Ladies were there, usually flawless. Peter showed up and told me everything he was wearing (it's our thing), and grinned even bigger than usual. "I have foreign exchange students with me," he beamed. You don't have to tell me twice! We sprinted to the dance floor and I met the blondest person I have ever met. "Where are you from?" I gushed. "Europe," he smiled, and I will consider it a truly multicultural experience.

Later in the night, I met up with my posse from earlier. As we stood in the center of the bar, Star Quarterback sauntered in. Were this even a month ago, I would have had my Pavlovian response of tensing up and running away, but now we're best friends and call each other every night and talk about life, love, and the pursuit of the American dream in a frightening economy.

Okay, that part isn't true, but he *did* say hello and hugged me.

I was so excited, but not everyone agreed that it was worthy of my emotion. "Oh, wow, really?" Joey scoffed. "You hugged a guy who's always hopped up on Adderall and doesn't do anything with his life. You and your A-list bullshit. Big fucking deal, Jakey."

I was angry for five whole minutes! But as I walked back to the bathroom, I realized two important points. First of all, Joey is a friend versus an acquaintance, and friends have the right to call you out on your bullshit and immature behavior. I am 12 years old about the preferred gender, and I understand that. Secondly, Joey and I have discussed the concept of the A-list before, and I learned over the summer that it's only "real" in the case of the clubs and the social echelons we create in the unique subculture that is the Hennepin Avenue bar scene, but it does not mean anything in terms of your success in life, of your career, or ultimately your happiness. Joey lives with Muscle Margaret, someone who had an establishment throw him a birthday party complete with a $5 cover charge, and, from the one very brief conversation I had with him, does not engage in pleasantries with people who aren't going to figuratively or literally sit on his dick. I understood where Joey's reaction was coming from. Yet I must defensively note that, as I said in the Halloween episode, the Star Quarterback thing eventually wasn't personally about him anymore. It was about social anxiety and self-affirmation and basing everything on wanting to be acknowledged by one person (hello, 12th grade, I remember you!), because if I was then I would feel like I belonged, and I finally got it and it's all I ever wanted from him, and it was a full-circle moment for me in this particular era of my life.


My best friend Erin and I are seeing Kathy Griffin tonight. Life could suck a lot worse.

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